Flour is the basis of all bread.  This main ingredient adds taste, structure and bulk to your loaves.  Whether it be  a type of wheat flour or gluten free, flour is where it all begins.  The type of flour you choose to use for your bread will determine for the most part, the taste, texture, aroma and density of your bread. 

 

Different types of flours behave differently depending on how much the flour is processed.  Below are typical types of flour used in baking bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flour - Bread Science

  • White All Purpose:   Sometimes called White wheat flour - Can be used for bread, cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes and many other baked goods.  Most recipes will work fine using All Purpose flour.  Typically has protein of around 11-12% (lower than bread flour).  However, you will bake better bread by using white bread flour or a whole wheat variety, or a combination of both.  

  • White bread flour:   This flour has a higher protein content (around 13-14%) which helps create stronger gluten in the bread.  Gluten helps create the elasticity and stretchiness we like to see in our loaves.  No one likes a slice of bread that crumbles or breaks when you bend or cut a slice.  White bread flour gives bread the texture we expect from a good loaf of bread.

  • White pastry/cake flour:   A lower gluten flour (9-10% protein) used when you want more crumb and less elasticity.  White pastry flour gives cakes that light fluffy texture, makes cookies less dense and lends itself much better to sweets rather than yeast breads.  

  • Hard Red whole wheat flour:   This is the typical flour used for most whole wheat breads.  Milled to include the whole grain, red wheat flour has a stronger taste while white whole wheat flour has a more mild taste.  Red wheat flour has a high protein content (around 13-14%) and develops gluten well. 

  • Hard White whole wheat flour:   Not to be confused with White wheat flour (refined), White whole wheat flour is very similar to red wheat flour in protein content (around 13-14%) and nutrition.  However, the taste is more mild than red wheat.  White whole wheat flour also contains the whole grain.  White whole wheat flour is becoming more popular and can usually be found on store shelves where whole wheat flour is found.

  • Rye flour:   Rye is usually conbined with other flours because by itself, it creates a very dense/heavy loaf of bread.  Lower in gluten (around 7%) but stronger in flavor, rye adds flavor and a robust texture to bread.  Most bread recipes that use rye flour call for no more than 50% rye flour when used with other types of flour.

 

    Ancient Grains (high protein, less, more digestible gluten)

  • Kamut whole wheat flour:   Kamut (khorasan wheat) is an organic, ancient variety of wheat that has great taste, higher protein (around 14-16 %) (but weaker gluten) and makes a great loaf of bread.  The flavor of Kamut is almost sweet, is even more mild than white whole wheat flour and has higher levels of many nutrients.

  • Spelt whole wheat flour:  Similar to Kamut in nutrition and gluten structure, spelt is also an ancient grain that makes great bread.  A bit more pricy than standard red or white wheat flour, spelt has an earthy, nutty taste that's unique but very good.

  • Einkorn whole wheat flour:  Einkorn is a unique and great tasting grain/flour.  High in protein but weaker in gluten, the proteins and gluten in einkorn behave a bit differently than whole wheat flour from red or white wheat.  The gluten can be sticky, the flour kneads fairly quickly and bread made with einkorn has a wonderful, nutty taste with a chewy texture.

  • Emmer - Quinoa - Amaranth - Millet:  Each of these grains are high in protein but have weak or no gluten.  Emmer is an ancient variety of wheat and has weak gluten, while Quinoa, Amaranth and Milleet are gluten-free grains.  These grains are better used mixed with other flours for bread.  

   Sources for Great Flour

   The two companies below produce some of the best flour I've used for making bread , both for home use and in professional bakeries.  

   Cenral Milling - Logan UT, USA.  

   Central Milling produces and sells the following types of organic flours:   (see product list)

  • All Purpose White

  • All Purpose Pastry, unbleached

  • Artisan's blend - various blends for artisan-style breads

  • Hi-gluten flours

  • Pizza flour

  • Whole wheat blends

  • Malted artisan, wheat and white blends

  • High Extraction flour

  • Gluten free (buckwheat) flour - and many others.

King Arthur Flour - Norwich, VT, USA.  

King Arthur produces and sells the following types of flours:   (see product list)

Signature Flours

  • White bread flour

  • Whole wheat flour

  • White whole wheat flour

  • Sprouted wheat flour

Organic Flours

  • All Purpose - organic

  • Whole Wheat - organic

  • White whole wheat -  organic

  • Bread flour - organic

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